NBA lockout and lack of political weighed on CBS stations in Q4


Revenues were down 3% to $3.78 billion in Q4 for CBS Corporation, although earnings were up. A good chunk of the revenue decline was in the local broadcast business, which had been fueled by political advertising a year earlier – not to mention an NBA season that didn’t have a lockout.

Local Broadcasting revenues for the fourth quarter of 2011 decreased 12% to $721 million from $821 million for the same prior-year period, the company reported. “The decline is entirely attributable to lower political advertising sales as well as lost revenues resulting from the NBA lockout during 2011. CBS Television Stations revenues decreased 18%, also reflecting lower political sales and lost NBA advertising revenues, partially offset by higher retransmission revenues and an improvement in auto advertising. CBS Radio revenues decreased 5%, reflecting the decline in political spending, which was partially offset by growth in domestic auto and financial services advertising,” CBS told Wall Street.

Local Broadcasting operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) for Q4 decreased $56 million to $266 million from $322 million for the same prior-year period. “Lower programming expenses, in part because of the NBA lockout, and the impact of cost-containment measures overcame nearly half of the revenue decline,” the company explained.

Entertainment, which includes the CBS Television Network, saw revenues decrease 1% to $2.02 billion, largely because the previous year had included second cycle sales of “CSI.

For the entire company, Q4 OIBDA increased 9% to $837 million. Adjusted net earnings from continuing operations were $384 million, or 57 cents per share, up from $320 million, or 46 cents per share, a year earlier.